Following her father’s passing 10 years ago, Deanna Clayton’s artwork took an unexpected turn when she found herself modeling clay into a figurative vessel rather than a decorative one. The translation of the clay form into glass symbolized glass’ inherent life-affirming qualities. Soft, flowing edges at the bases of these sculptures add to the sense of impermanence; electroplated copper helps to ground the figures, enhancing their presence.
Clayton states: “The inspiration for this new body of work is a true love of the life inherent in glass itself. To create a face in glass is a self-evident evocation of the material’s life quality. Creating abstracted forms in glass that become believable as life is what is truly inspiring. This is what continues my quest to experiment and explore glass and its capabilities as an art form.”
Clayton started working with glass 35 years ago as a student in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. She began as most glass artists do, by being introduced to a blow pipe and a furnace of molten glass. Her work prior to finding glass was primarily drawing and printmaking, with an emphasis on representing the human form. She earned her associates in fine arts degree at Bucks County Community College.
Wanting to continue her education in glass, Clayton chose Kent State University in Kent, Ohio, where the program taught by Henry Halem had produced some of the most successful glass artists working at the time. After two years, she moved to Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, where she graduated from the University of Illinois with a bachelor of fine arts degree in art history in 2002.
While attending the University of Illinois, Clayton started her own glass studio with her husband, Keith Clayton. After 10 years in Illinois, in 1995 the couple discovered beautiful Door County, Wisconsin, where they moved with their three children. The studio was known for its pate de verre technique and electroplated copper vessels – a successful source of inspiration to her for over 20 years.
Today, D.C. Studios LLC is designed to educate others in the ancient and rewarding process of pate de verre. Clayton has taught classes at the Corning Museum of Glass, New York; The Cleveland Institute of Art; and Duncan McClellan Glass Project, St. Petersburg, Florida. Her work can be seen in public and private collections around the world. This year’s exhibitions included a solo exhibition, Surging Forward, at Duncan McClellan Gallery, St. Petersburg, Florida; Glass Coast Weekend, Habatat Fine Art, Sarasota, Florida; and Art Palm Beach, Mattsen Fine Art, Palm Beach, Florida. Artist awards include the 2019 Collectors Choice, 47th Annual International Glass Invitational, Habatat Galleries, Royal Oak, Michigan; SAC Award, Professional Dimensions Group, Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and Most Unique Interpretation of a Vessel, Habatat Galleries, Boca Raton, Florida.
Says Clayton: “I love the versatility and freshness of glass as an artistic medium. The potential for expression in contemporary glass is limitless.”